The Special Workshop Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 5:00 p.m. on February 16, 2017 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Jean Murphy presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on February 7, 2017, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Salute to the Flag

Council President Murphy led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Dan Kadish, Sandra Ooms, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel and Council President Murphy. Also present were Mayor Harry Shortway, Business Administrator Charles Voelker and CFO Elke Yetter.

Public Comments

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Sandra Ooms
Second: Dan Kadish
All members were in favor.

There were no public comments.

Closed to Public Comments

Seeing no members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the public portion of the meeting.
Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members were in favor.

Items for Discussion

Police Budget Presentation

Council President Murphy asked Chief Mills and Captain Young to come forward. Chief Mills explained the salary budget which are contractual and reviewed the expenses of the department. Chief Mills explained that due to retirements and hiring new officers, the salary and longevity budget has decreased but academy and uniform expenses have increased. Chief Mills explained that the department was working short-handed and had to take detectives out of the bureau and put them back on the road. Captain Young described the capital budget which includes two SUV patrol vehicles, mobile radio upgrade and a traffic messaging trailer.

Department of Public Works Budget Presentation

Council President Murphy asked if DPW Director Ed Babcock would please come forward. Director Babcock explained the budget of the department which includes salary, Recycling, Road Repairs, Signs, Road Materials, Gypsy Moth Program, Vehicle Repairs and Buildings & Grounds. Director Babcock discussed the radios and the age of the various vehicles in the fleet. Director Babcock discussed that the Capital budget includes Oil & Stone maintenance, drainage improvements, various trucks, equipment trailer, ball field groomer and forklift. Director Babcock also requested a new pool car for employee as the current vehicle was not in good shape structurally. Director Babcock discussed the purchase of a Crack Patch machine to improve efficiency when repairing roads, indicating that the cost of materials was less expensive than asphalt and would save our roads both physically and financially long term. Director Babcock added that the township has applied for grant for improvements on Maple Grange Road which is supplemented by capital funds. The Council discussed the longevity of vehicles as opposed to the amount of time to pay off bonding as well as the fluctuation in revenue from recycling based upon market conditions.

Finance Budget Presentation

Council President Murphy asked Elke Yetter to come forward. Ms. Yetter explained the various expenses in the department which includes consulting fees for Retirement Medicare Subsidy and Post Retirement Audit plans. Ms. Yetter adds the annual cost for Audit services will be increased by 2% in 2017.

Community Affairs/Senior Citizen Budget Presentation

Council President Murphy asked Mishelle Downtain to come forward. Ms. Downtain explained the various line items in the Recreation budget including the service contracts with the Police Athletic League and rental services. The Council discussed the two current contracts with the PAL totaling $45,000/year. Ms. Downtain explained the various line items of the Senior Center budget and further discussed the cost of bussing contracted with Sussex County as well as the 25th anniversary Open House program. Council Member Wetzel added that planning should start now to decorate for Holiday Season along RT 515. Council President Murphy noted the Beautification Committee was limited last year as to possible locations and budget constraints. Council Member Rizzuto requested if a Band Shell is in proposed budget. Council Member Rizzuto stated the Board of Education wrote a letter urging the Mayor to begin project. Mayor Shortway said it has not been added at this time and problems with parking availability was an issue at Maple Grange Park to add the shell. Ms. Downtain discussed that the fields are reserved until late in the evening and that the lights must be off by 10 pm. Mayor Shortway noted that would not give sufficient time for an event. Council Member Rizzuto opined that parking will not be an issue as events will be held on nights when other groups are off.


There being no further items of business to be conducted on the agenda, a motion for Adjournment was made by Council Member Ooms, seconded by Council Member Wetzel with all members voting in favor.

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 7:18 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: March 13, 2017